Category Archives: Uncategorized

Analyzing Scope Creep

I used to be part owner of a licensee, when I had my event planning and production business. This particular event we put on monthly was called PlayDate. It was an adult game night. It was an alternative to the normal night life stuff, like clubbing and bar hopping. Adults 21 ( preferably 25) and up would come hang out dress comfortably, listen to  music because we had a DJ, play all different types of board games new and old. The main event of the evening was the interactive games with the host, which was an up and coming comedian. These game were what the crowd usually anticipated. The would play simon sez, red light green light, tug-o-war, twister and a few others.

This event took place on a Friday or Saturday of each month. Instead of my partner and I hiring actual employees we had volunteers and as compensation, we provided food, drinks, 3 free guest passes to the event. One of the biggest challenges of this event was finding the right venue. This particular event was our welcome to the NEW Year event, so we expect a large turn out. Our team met at our usual time and place, discussed the event from start to finish. We had the venue scheduled and as far as we knew everything was a go.

I received a call about a week prior to the event from the venue, they explained to me that they had double booked and that since our group called after they were going to accommodate the other party. Without a venue, there is no event bottom line.

Booking the venue has always been a responsibility of mine, what I did to go about this is created a list of all the places that could be possible space for the monthly event. I kept a list of information on each place so that I knew what space I was working with, since we wanted to have the room filled with different stations, and this time we had vendors from sony coming in, the basketball shooting games,  the works, I had the venues listed by size.

One of the great things about this event is that it had gained s much attention that several businesses wanted the opportunity to partner up with us. Jack London Square in Oakland, California, is a very popular tourist spot, a member of our church owned a bar and connected to the bar was this hug auditorium that he would rent out to vendors. Everyone called him pops, and Immediately contacted pops to see if his space would be available to host our event. Pops advised me that he was so happy that we called him because he has been trying to find a way to drive more business to the bar. What we decided to do was write-up a proposal to have the event take place continuously at  Mingles. For budgeting purposes we came up with a financial plan that made both businesses happy.  The first even was a success and Mingles even got radio advertisement through the event.

I think what I would have done differently is instead seeking help from other commercial businesses, look within the community first. One would be surprised how many people are willing to help your business succeed. The second thing is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have a back up venue. Follow up with that venue 2 to 3 weeks prior to the event just in case. I think if i could go back tot he very beginning, I would have looked for a venue to partner with so that this problem would never occur.

 

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

What I find most challenging about estimating activity duration and resource cost is making sure that the time allocated is utilized by the activity and not being wasted . Another challenge could possibly being prepare for any changes or issues that may occur, and to know what effects the changes will have on the project. Projects have a higher potential for conflict than non-projects (Portny, et al, 2008).  A project budget is derived from the project plan that calls for specific activities (Portny, et al, 2008). Along with schedules, objectives, activities to be preformed; project managers must develope budgets in order to obtain the resources needed to accomplish project objectives. Project managers need tools to assist them with keeping up with a projects progress, ensuring each task is being complete, resources are being allocated and utilized properly. There are available software a project manager can use to keep track of an entire project from start to finish.  The first software I came across can be used for small and large projects,  Microsoft Project, is a software that can be used anywhere. It allows for virtual collaborating between the teams involved. The great feature is that this software can be accessed online. This software allows the project manager to stay involved with every bit of the process from task completion and updates, to budget management. This software allows for clients, executives, and other shareholders to be closely involved with the project as well. You can find more great information about this software at https://products.office.com/en-us/project/project-and-portfolio-management-software. Basecamp  https://basecamp.com/ is another software I came across that has been around for sometime now. Basecamp has been used by many companies we all are pretty familiar with. Basecamp offers all the Project managers needs of collaborating with other team members, sharing documents and information, keeping track of resources and schedules. An awesome feature with Basecamp is that it has a app for both Apple and Android products, so there is no need to stress about having your laptop or being at a desktop, you can access your project right from your or tablet.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Basecamp. (2014). retrieved from https://basecamp.com/

Project. (2014). Microsoft. retrieved from https://products.office.com/en-us/project/project-and-portfolio-management-software

 

 

Communicating Effectively

Communication is a major factor in the success of a project. Viewing the “Art of Effective Communication” media, my initial interpretation of the message itself is that it is an urgent matter that needed to be addressed immediately. Each modality presented the message differently. Of all three, only one portrayed the urgency the message was sending off. Each of the messages presented the message in a different tone.

The factor that influenced my perception of this message was the content and the tone. The content describe the importance of the information being requested. The sender was considerate but also firm about what was needed and displayed the in a respectful urgent manor.

After reviewing each modality, I interpreted the email message to portray the most urgency. I personally feel that when communicating a message this important one should use 2 if not all methods of communicating.

I learned from this that when communicating with peers, you need to use a primary and a secondary form of communication to get a message across. I learned that you have to present the proper tone while still effectively communicating what the priority of the message is.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). ” Art of Effective Communication”. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Learning from a Project “ Post-mortem”

Pardon my tardiness all, I have been having one of those weeks, New Schedule, New responsibilities and this assignment fell through the cracks of me keeping on task with all I needed to get done.

With that said:

The most recent project that I worked on with a group was for our first Instructional design course, where we created an Instructional plan to teach/ train students new and old how to access and successfully maneuver the learning management system Blackboard. The purpose was to provide students enrolled in distance education programs knowledge and tools to be successful through out their journey.  I worked on this project with four other individual and we each assumed a role from the acronym ADDIE, the Instructional Design process used to create instructional material.

The project was a success we were able to create material sufficient enough that could be beneficial to learners.  One of the first things I can think of that contributed to the success of our project. Communication, my group used every form of communication possible within the distance learning community. We communicated with each other about every aspect of the project.  Although we each had individually assigned portions of the project, we took advantage of the knowledge our teammates had, suggestions, opinions and we discussed them at the start of each week and assignment. A leader was assigned each week, so I guess one could kinda assume that role as also the project manager. That individual along with the rest of the team discussed times to meet and topic s to be discussed to ensure we stayed on task.

Another contribution to the success is that of the project is that we address any issues anyone was having right away. We create a plan and use that as a guide to assist us, this way each person was able to keep on track what stage we were at in the project if the anything happen.

I believe that the only part of the PM process that would have contributed to the success is if there was one individual assigned to strictly do the project managing work, like schedule, communicating needs, ensuring each task each week was completed and was within what was being asked in the assignment.

If I had to imagine myself involved in a project, where a project manager was present, I would say that it give the outcome of the project a greater chance to be successful.

 

Reflection: Distance Education

Distance learning will always hold value to me because it afforded me to accomplish tings that I honestly did not think would happen for along time due to my personal circumstances. Generations of the world see things through different glasses; distance learning is one of those things. I think that to the world, we tend to look at something like distance education with a one track mind. Learning is done in the the class room setting and we characterized that by the physical things we know come with the class room, the teacher, the desk, the chalkboard. We forget about the learning tools, learning styles, teaching methods. I can say that I am guilty of my ignorance to what knowing what distance education truly is.

For some this may not have been a shocker, but it was a jaw-dropping, “ wow” moment for me when our text informed us that distance learning occurred throughout my entire education. From the videos showed during Science class, to the audio books in English class. The reality is that distance learning holds significant value in education.

The convenience alone gives the learner a mental calmness because distance learning allows for the learner to have a lot of control in the learning process. This week we were ask to explore the perceptions of other individuals outside our class on what their perception of distance learning was. I must say it start an interesting discussion with one of my teammates at my job who also attends graduate school. One of the participants stated that she had never participated in a distance learning course or program and that she did not think that distance learning was effective because communication was 70% non-verbal and that she would misinterpret things that she read. I found it interesting because in a past conversation about her graduate program she mentioned to me that her classed use discussion forums. I ask this person was she aware that the discussion forums that she used to ask and answer questions pertaining to the class and discussing different topics was a form of distance learning. Her rebuttal to me was “ well we only use it a couple times a week”. I explained to her that blended course only used technological tools to interact in the course a few times as well, it is still apart of distance education. I find it quite interesting that at this point in the information age that anyone in this new generation would still believe distance learning is a big part of education.

We have ventured out of the classrooms, listening to teachers lecture, and using the physical library as our way of retaining sources. We have the vehicle of technology that gives us the tools to enhancing learning and education. Distance education is not a new way of learning, it is just now being utilized more for what it can contribute to the learning experience. I honestly do not want to say in the future, because the future is now, and we are witnessing this field field evolve.

From Face-To-Face Learning to Blended

Converting from Face- to Face to Blended Training

Just like other courses, planning, developing and creating a blended course takes just as much careful considerations. Blended learning can be beneficial and exciting for the learners because it gives a different experience in learning. A blended course can provide a unique learning experience for everyone involved. With the use of technology, blended learning can at times eliminate the need for specific technology, and suggest that tools currently being used continue to be utilized instead of changing. This is an opportunity to make learning more engaging for learners and instructors. This process is not as simple as it seems. Using the scenario below:

A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

 

Lepi, 2014 suggest within preplanning strategies the trainer should create conditions for success. Put together ideas for the training, using storyboards that could possibly give ideas a realistic feel. Also, create a timeline for implementing, developing, and when course should go live. The trainer should identify objectives for the course and align them with the goals. Create clear expectations. The modules for the course are available for the face-to-face training; however Instructional modules should still be created and intergraded with what is available. Learners in blended course assume more responsibility for their learning experience. Katie Lepi, 2014, points out that the trainer should determine technological devices that will be used and work alongside with technical support to ensure efficiency. It will also be wise for the trainer create an evaluation plan that helps them assess the success and failures of the training and give feedback on where adjustments need to be made.

The aspects of this course that should be enhanced are the learner activities. Making them available to learners online and allowing them to interact with fellow learners. This will also allow learners to engage in the training from anywhere. Creating discussion forums where questions and answers will be available. The instructor could use multimedia tools foe learners

to follow along. Another aspect that should be enhanced is the communication with the instructor. The role of the trainer changes slightly, the trainer still supports and guides trainees along the course. They provide direction for resources for success. They become a motivational

factor for trainees to stay engaged in the learning and maximize their experience.

Providing the trainees with an activities syllabus is one way to encourage virtual

communication. Activities could include trainees to form groups within the forums and require them to complete assignments as a whole. The trainer could solicit feedback from trainees through assessment software’s. The trainer can create schedules and times of when trainees should log on and require some form of participation.

In all blended course make the most of technology use, it makes learning efficient for everyone. Lepi, 2014 says that learning in multiple modalities yields more and better data that creates an integrated and customizable learning experience.

 

Lepi, k. (2014) How to Implement Blended learning. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/implement-blended-learning/

 

Open Source Sites & MOOCs

In these last 4-5 weeks of this Distance Learning course to so many new concepts and components that go in to distance education. As a distance learner it is important that one has many different tools and resources available to assist during their educational journey. Technology has afforded learners access to many different resources. One of the most recent trends in E- Learning tools is Open Course websites or MOOCs. MOOCs or open courses allow for learners to log into different courses, from different instructors and universities world wide. This can be free to the learner or offer certificates of completion. While these courses will not offer the learner credits, they provide valuable knowledge. In some cases these course can help learners prepare for upcoming classes they will be receiving credit from.

There is a lot to consider when planning a course. With every concept and component targeted towards the leaner. Not all courses created ( especially in distance learning ) are designed effectively for the learner to utilize. With more and more courses being made available, one has to carefully examine what is being offered, did the creator keep the learner in mind when planning and designing. I checked out Openculture.com from this weeks resources, this actually is my first experience with MOOCs, I only recently heard about them in this course. So this id definitely something new for me. Our text in chapter for points out that “ The key to success in an online class room is not which technologies are used, but but how they are used and what information is communicated using the technologies (Simonson et al., 2012). There are many open course websites, which is one of the first things I notice when I typed it in Google, to eliminate confusion for me I chose Open Culture, since it was offered in our resources. I browsed through several different courses being offered. One of the first thing I noticed was each course had a short introduction for learners to know what would be explored. This helps the learner a lot when deciding if the information is beneficial to them or not. It was explained in the first course I looked at that it was an introductory course, and that no prior knowledge was needed. It offered information about the instructor, the duration of the course. One of the key thing I like about this course was that it gave the learner options for tuning in either watching the lecture on video or thru a podcast. It also allowed learners to subscribe to a thread where more lectures would be offered. Learners are able to provide immediate feedback about the course since there was a comment section available. The layout here is very clear, and easily accessible for a learner. It did not require any additional downloaded which could take time away from the learning process. Another detail about this particular course is that it did not require registrations, it was a simple click on the course and you were there I the classroom.

As I continued to look through other courses offered I landed on a course that offered a “ statement of accomplishment”. This course was designed differently. The learner has different requirements such as first registering with the site that it is offered and then joining the course. Learners are able to see all the information regarding this course before joining. All the course materials and recommended material s were right there available for the learner to download and prepared. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek (2010) advises us in chapter 4 that instructors of online courses must make the course organization, calendar, activities, and expectation as clear as possible. Students need this kind of instructor and detail to help them stay organized and on task. I believe that I seen two scales of planning in the courses I viewed, on one end it seems that an instructor simply stream his lecture and made it available to anyone studying that particular topic. It was easily accessible and did not require much effort of the learner. On another end the second course was well thought out. The instructor organized the sections to accommodate the learners needs. There was direction s within the course that guided students on what to do to participate. Simonson et al., 2012, says that students need to be trained to use the course website. Students can not use course web tools effectively if they do not know how. Provide clear instructions that learners can always reference back to.

Since there are so many open course sites available it becomes the learners responsibility to select which course offers content that will satisfy their educational need. Our job as designers are to make sure we are following solid objectives that promote learning.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Boston, MA: Pearson.

OpenCulture. (2014). Retrieved October 4, 2014, from http://www.openculture.com/

 

 

 

Distance Learning Technology Tools

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

In these 3 weeks of our course on distance learning, I have had the opportunity to come across different resources about distance learning and different concepts involved. This week in discussing the use of distance learning technologies, we have learned about CMS’s ( course management systems) or LMS’s (learning management systems). These systems offer tools that allow educational resource management that includes administrative functions, assessments, and grading. There are the Web 2.0 applications that now provide the instructor and learner access to more technological tools to provide a more useful toolbox of web resources to connect the learner with their educational needs.

Focusing on the concept of the Equivalency Theory, it is said that this is the direction of distance learning. Making a virtual classroom as effective as the traditional classroom.

The impact of new telecommunications technologies on distance education is far-reaching. Real-time television systems, such as the Iowa Communications Network (Simonson and Schlosser 1995), permit learners and instructors to see and be seen, and be heard, in almost the same way as in the local classroom. Keegan (1995) suggested that electronically linking instructor and students at various locations creates a virtual classroom” (Simonson, Schlosser, Hanson, 1999).

The use of these technological tools have moved beyond the classrooms of educational institutions and emerged in the corporate world. Organizations are utilizing such technologies to provide employees with training resources, including live seminars also called “ Webinars”. Companies are able to create, conduct and distribute training and resources to employees cost effectively.

Employers like educators have variety of technological tools available to fit any training or educational need like the collaborative training example below:

A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.

One of the first distance learning tools that come to mind is one that I am particularly familiar with and also have found it pretty easy-to-use is the program Anymeeting.

This is a web-based software that can be accessed through a web browser. It does not require the trainer or trainee specific technological hardware or downloads in order to use it. It does require users to have internet access and ensure is up to date and compatible with the most recent version.

Learners do not have to be in the same office or geographic location to participate. With Anymeeting employees can be invited to register and view training sessions, meetings and presentations with the click of a link that can be sent via email.

The idea of appropriate application implies that learning experiences suitable to the needs of the individual learner and the learning situation should be available and that the availability of learning experiences should be proper and timely. In other words, learning experiences that are made available to either distant or local learners should allow delivery of instructional ideas that fit the expectations and facilities available to them; desktop video conferencing should not be expected of learners accessing Web-based information by modem. Similarly, collaborative learning strategies are not appropriate when an individual learner is isolated unless an equivalent, technology-based collaboration is arranged” (Simonson, Schlosser, Hanson, 1999).

Distance learning requires a skill level of communication amongst learners. Effective technological tools should allow for different forms of resources and supporting tools to be shared amongst the learners. With Anymeeting trainees are able to share screens, upload files and documents in real-time allowing each individual to collaborate on projects or simply provide information to benefit other based on the training’s. If one is unavailable a the time of a training or meeting, Anymeeting allows the host and attendees to record the training, is great for referencing later when training information in being updated.

Check out these users that have tried Anymeeting:

http://vellgroup.com/2012/01/test-drive-of-anymeeting/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek-IUglk4io&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DEk-IUglk4io&has_verified=1

What we have learned thus far is that the instructional experience itself is necessary for the learning process. We have are also witnessing the evolution of the learning experience as well as the methods and practices. Distance learning combined with today’s technologies is customizing each learning experience for educational institutions and corporation training’s. The use of tools such as this one makes telecommunications possible.

Simonson, M., Schlosser, C., & Hanson, D. (n.d.). Theory And Distance Education: A New Discussion. American Journal of Distance Education, 60-75.

Anymeeting. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.anymeeting.com/Free-Web-Conferencing-Features.aspx

7 Things You Should Know About LMS Alternatives. (2010). Retrieved from

http://www.educause.edu/

Defining Distance Learning

Who knew that all those time during lab In science class that we watched videos or in social studies, listening to recorded books was my actual first experiences with distance learning. The growth of online distance learning (e-learning) is explosive in almost all sectors, and in many developed and developing in countries (Moller, Foshay, Huett, 2008). I can attest to that because distancing learning has afforded me educational opportunities, I am now completing a masters degree when there was a point in my life that I did not even think I would ever finish an undergraduate program.

Not only before starting this course, but before starting my first distance learning program, my personal definition has completely changed from what I thought it was. Distance learning to me meant that I would have to watch lectures online and complete assignments that were given in a syllabus. My definition was so simple. That meant to me that I would then need to prepare myself to do work I had never done before. So far in this course this week, I have learned there is much more to distance learning. I have learned that since my first program with my first online university. Our text shares that “ Distance learning is rapidly becoming a popular choice for continuing professional education, mid career degree programs, and lifelong learning of all kinds”(2008). I now understand that I have participated in distance learning long before it became popular and before the advancement technology has provided.

Although there is an academic description of what distance learning is that is explained in the video of this week’s resources, Dr. Simonson interprets distance education as “ Formal education that is institutionally based where the learning group ( teacher, students, resources) are separated by geography and sometimes time” Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.)., 2014. I believe that the definition of distance education changes based on the circumstance and use. Distance learning is performed in other avenues other than providing education to students, it also is a tool for training individuals in the workplace or to prepare them for a job. I believe distance eduction can no longer be defined by one dynamic since it offers so much opportunity in many different areas.

My definition of distance education now is that it is an alternative tool to advance education, job training and life skills, (along with aspect of the academic meaning) where the resources, instructor (if any) are separated by location and in some cases time. As technology continues to evolve, it will make for provide more access to the world. As students, teachers, employees, employers and organizations, our technological skills will evolve too. At the start of this program I did not truly know how big of a role technology played in educating individuals, and not just for school, I also did not know how much control we have over how technology impacts our livelihoods.

In all realizing that distance education has been here the whole time, I do not think we have stumbled across something new rather as it states in the text “ a simple answer to a complex problem associated with education and training (2008). Distance education is a solution to learning beyond the classroom. I agree with Dr. Simonson that traditional learning will never be replaced by distance learning but it will however be integrated with instructor- based teachings. Instructors will be able to make learning even more efficient for students, organizations will help develop employee skills to succeed in their careers. There are some that still feel that the world is not ready for this technological style of learning, but I would disagree, distance learning today and as it continues to evolve, provides us with options that were not always available. The next steps are really up to us.

 

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Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66-70.
Retrieve this article from the Academic Search Complete database in the Walden Library.

REFLECTION….

REFLECTION....

Walking into this program, there was a lot fear and pressure that I faced. From the beginning I knew I was going into this program of study blind-sighted, before now, I had only heard about instructional design. Never did I think in a million years this is what I would finally decide as the career I would like to see myself in, in the next year or so. This course has open my eyes to a new way of thinking of approaching the way I learn as a student continuing this program and for my future as an instructional designer, creating material for other learners. As I take this moment to reflect on the past 8 weeks of this course, I will reveal a few things I have learned about myself and other learners as wells as tools and strategies that will be useful for my future success.
As I studied about how individuals learned one of the first thing I found striking was how common some of the same learning experiences I have had, so many other people have experienced as well. When I was faced with learning challenges I use to think that there was something wrong with me, but I now understand that every learner faces some type of challenge. The only difference is the way we each approach our challenges within our style of learning and which strategies we use to overcome them. Needless to say I was surprised to learn that I was normal. I learned that everyone has a learning style and each of our different styles fit in with these philosophies created centuries ago.
This course deepened my understanding about my personal learning process, through the lessons about the brain, and how the brain functions. I learned that the brain is like every other muscle in out body; and in order for it to stay strong and each of its areas pertaining to learning, retaining and processing information to function properly, we have to do activities that exercise each of those areas equally. I learned that our brain function plays a major role in information processing.
The connections between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation I have learned, is that with each there is a form of the other to go along with it. Since this is a distance learning course and program, I will say that the learning theory that most relates is connectivism, this theory is connected to the learning style that integrates technology within the learning process. This also connects to the ARCS model of motivational design. The process is use in distance learning environments such as this one we are in. A- Attention, R- Relevance, C- Confidence and S- Satisfaction; “incorporates needs assessment based on an analysis of the target audience and existing instructional materials, supports the creation of motivational objectives and measures based on analysis of the motivational characteristics of the learners provides guidance for creating and selecting motivational tactics, and follows and process that integrated well with instructional design development” (Keller, 1999).
My learning in this course will help me further my career because I know have just a bit more knowledge, and I feel that I have gained a useful amount of information that gives me a good solid foundation of the learning to come. I have learned to use the fear, and challenges as motivation to keep pushing forward, and not let it discourage me, I will succeed in this field.

Keller, J.M. (1999). Using the ARCs motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 78, 37-47. doi: 10.1002.tl.7804.